There are several political aspirants who already either filed their certificate of candidacy or declared their intent to run for president or senator ahead of the 2016 Philippine elections. No doubt Filipinos will start to see an increase in political ads in the coming months as more candidates try to secure the votes of the people.

Electoral Expenditure

The 2013 senatorial elections displayed just how much candidates were willing to spend for their own campaigns. Some spent close to Php60 million. Current senator Nancy Binay spent a total of Php52.7 million on her pre-campaign materials alone.

These candidates spent the bulk of their budget on several campaign or pre-campaign materials such as TV ads, trips to voter-heavy cities and provinces, or other out-of-home ads like posters, tarps, and billboards.

Preferred Advertising Platform

The majority of electoral candidates of the Philippines tend to favor TV ads as their preferred campaign material. Presidential candidates Grace Po and Jejomar Binay, for example, have TV ads broadcasted on prime time slots. Joel Villanueva, Manuel Tolentino, Risa Hontiveros, and Isko Moreno, all slated candidates of the 2016 senatorial elections, are using TV ads themselves.

While this preference for TV ads gets the job done, at the end of the day, there are better ways to maximize their political advertising budget.

Where Programmatic Fits

Programmatic advertising has been used, to great effect, in the United States by the Republican candidates in 2012. Mitt Romney’s digital director, Zac Moffatt, said they spent “tens of millions of dollars’ worth” of programmatic ads.

While programmatic ads have taken off in the United States, it may be quite challenging to convince the more traditional mindset of Filipino politicians who see television as the way to the mass audience. It is a common belief that the majority of the Filipino masses tend to patronize television shows and spend more time on this platform.

It’s worth to note, however, that the mobile and internet proliferation in the Philippines is relatively high. Mobile connections in the country are at 113% of the population with close to 45% active internet users. These numbers are also slated to rise in the next couple years.

In a country where mobile phones and internet usage are essential, even among the low-income masses, programmatic advertising definitely has a great future.

Maximizing Campaign Expenditure

One great feature of programmatic advertising is the ability to target specific audiences and collect audience behavioral data. This allows senatorial candidates to effectively target a select type of audience that saves money in the long run, instead of running blanket advertising that targets even the non-voters, and those not qualified to vote.

The data collected is also invaluable. If analyzed properly, it can give insights into voter preferences and stances on important political issues that can add an edge to any political campaigns and inform marketing strategies.

Programmatic advertising also allows for a more dynamic and flexible campaign. With advanced ad technology, political candidates can personalize the message on the ads they display based on who are viewing these ads. This is a priceless tool to set a candidate apart from their competitors when it comes to pitching their specific platforms and advocacies to their target audience.

Programmatic also allows for a wider reach. It is a growing trend that people with a higher socio-economic class in the country have begun to tune out of television and into internet and online materials. Since mobile phones and internet applications are used by both the smaller high-income class and the masses, senatorial candidates can target both through the effective use of programmatic advertising instead of just TV ads.

There are undoubtedly many benefits to investing in programmatic advertising, and now is the perfect time for Philippine political candidates to jump into this important opportunity.

Photo credit: The Philippine Pride